One of the most incredible gifts that God has given us is our memory. Memories can either be good, neutral or bad. Memories can either liberate us and provide us energy to move forward in tough times or they can be boat anchors that weigh us down and prevent us from growing and developing.
For those of us who had great times growing up - playing with our brothers and sisters, visiting grandma who gave cookies, learning to ride a bike, vacations with families, school sports - we look back and have "fond" memories of growing up. For those of us who had tough times growing up - poverty, rough family circumstances, death, strained relationships - we look back and wish that we didn't have these experiences that we had to remember. The experiences of our lives, and the memories of them, shape us as human beings: our response to the current circumstances to life, our response to others, our view of God and our view of others.
Why are memories important? For someone who believes in Jesus, we are called to remember. Throughout the Old Testament, God instructed his followers to remember. He instituted annual feasts and celebrations so that his people would remember what He had done. He asked people to put up standing stones as markers so that when people walked by them they would remember what He had accomplished. Jesus, while He was on this planet, instituted a time of remembrance (we call it communion; the early church celebrated it as a love feast). God was and is BIG into memories.
Why? Why is it important to remember? Why does God want us to return over and over again to what He has done? Two of the reasons that I come up with: good memories will carry us through the bad times. If we believe that God was faithful in the past and we are reminded of that over and over again, we will have the expectation that God will be faithful to us. Understanding the character and nature of God by remembering what He has done will help us understand what our character and actions need to be.
I also believe that, in spite of all the bad memories that we have, God wants us to remember that He is for us, that He is walking with us and that He loves us. I don't know where life finds you right now, but I do know that God wants you to remember who He is, what He has done and therefore what He is going to do in you, through you and to you!